“Do you have a plan?”
The words make me wince.
I shift uncomfortably in my seat because I don’t know the answer. I wait for him to change the subject, but when I look back up my therapist is looking intently at me, his hands folded in front of him, patiently.
A year ago, when he asked me this same question, it meant “how worried should I be?” It meant “Do I need to call the hospital?” It meant “Are you safe?”
But it means something different this time. It means “what are you going to do next?” “What is your life going to look like?” “What’s next?”
I’m the kind of person that likes to know what’s going to happen. I go through life with a color-coded planner that breaks down my day in fifteen minute increments. I’ve kept a detailed journal since sixth grade. I take notes on everything. I plan my practice routine, my wake up routine, and the breaks between classes.
I always want to know what comes next. Academically, professionally, personally – I even read spoilers before I watch a movie.
In high school I had this five year master plan. I loaded my schedule with difficult courses. Worked to be in the top of my class. I was going to graduate high school with honors. I would go to college, preferably in a big city and perform whenever I could. I was going to pick up a double major in English Education or maybe Library Science. I was going to go out partying on weekends. I was going to have a huge group of friends. I would join clubs and go to church and work out every day.
Instead, I ended up putting my deposit on a BA program in a tiny rural town in the mountains. I learned that going out on weekends made my anxiety skyrocket. My schedule was so packed with academia that I didn’t have time to join clubs. My group of friends changed again and again over the course of my first year. I added a double major in Dramatic Writing, a major I hadn’t even heard of before college. I fell in love fast and hard with someone I never expected, and then fell out just as quickly. My brilliant plan started unravelling at the seams, and I along with it.
I crashed, hard. Everything fell apart. It was dark and dangerous. So I did the only thing I knew how to do in a crisis. I started planning.
And then I stopped.
I threw my energy into therapy. I changed plans.
I took a yoga class and downloaded a meditation app. I took a playwriting class. I submitted to the poetry club’s semesterly publication. I bought a coloring book and used it.
I’m not by any means cured. Healing doesn’t work that way. I’m still struggling. I’m still fighting. But for the first time, I think I’m okay with that.
It’s a year later and everything I thought I knew has changed.
So what is the plan? The plan is go with the flow. The plan is enjoy the ride. The plan is let go and let happen.
I’m not sure who I am anymore, or what I want. I don’t know where this life is taking me.
I don’t know what comes next anymore, but whatever it is I’m ready for it.
Sharleigh, this is so beautifully written. I love this. We have so much in common. Thanks for sharing. ❤
Leah, Thank you for the positive feedback on Sharleigh’s blog post. We agree that it was beautifully written and meaningful too!
Dusty, We appreciate the feedback!
Sharleigh! I am so proud of the person you have become. You matter – my baby girl matters and we shared this tonight with her. She needs to hear that you can be in a dark place and come out kicking and make a life that you love!
Your important to the world, don’t let tough times bring you down when you know you matter, right now someone needs you, it could be a 12 year old kid with suicidal thoughts, or a retired veteran. But you matter, and don’t let anyone tell you your not, if they do just say “I don’t care” and walk away. Now of course you care, and I care we all do, and WE know your important, it doesn’t matter if they don’t, hey maybe their dealing with the same thing, but don’t know how to express themselves.
Thank you for your encouraging words. It’s true – it’s important not to give up and give in to negative, sad thoughts because YOU MATTER! Reach out! Like you wrote, someone else may be going through the same thing and can offer support and empathy. You can always reach out to National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).